Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Statehouse Live: Westar cool to cool summer

September 23, 2009, 10:37 a.m. Updated September 23, 2009, 4:08 p.m.


4:08 p.m.

Westar Energy says the coolest summer in more than 40 years has had a negative financial impact.

The largest electric utility in Kansas revised downward its full-year 2009 earnings guidance to a range of $1.35 to $1.45 per share from a previous guidance of $1.65 to $1.80 per share.

The reasons for the downward revision were the coolest third quarter since 1967 and lower energy marketing margins, the Topeka-based company said.

The depressed energy marketing has been caused by wholesale energy prices hitting their lowest levels in a decade, Westar officials said.

In response, Westar said it notified 21 employees in energy trading that their positions are either being eliminated or they are being reassigned.

Westar has a total workforce of nearly 2,400 employees.

10:37 a.m.

In the next few days, state employees will learn in detail about increases they will have to pay for health insurance.

The increase will be about 10 percent for the employee, while state agencies are going to have to pay 12.5 percent more, according to Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget director Duane Goossen.

During the last legislative session, lawmakers swept approximately $60 million out of the balance of the state employee insurance plan to help balance the state budget.

But Goossen said Wednesday that is not the reason for the increase. He said the state’s self-insured plan is spending more than it is taking in. He said for the past few years, the costs to employees has remained flat.

Enrollment for the insurance program starts Oct. 1. The increases will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.


Julie Jacob 8 years, 7 months ago

So there was a $60 million dollar "cushion" from good times and instead of leaving this in the appropriate fund, the State raided the fund to balance the budget? Robbing Peter to pay Paul!

timetospeakup 8 years, 7 months ago

Honestly, making the insurance a little less attractive to employees might go a long way towards getting rid of some of the worthless people that squat on state jobs forever just for the insurance. The employee contribution to health insurance is tiny.

Now how about we find a way to give cost of living raises to state employees? It's been a long time since that happened with any regularity, long before the current situation.

mccgirl80 8 years, 7 months ago

I think Duane Goossen needs to check his facts, because I work for the State and my insurance rates went up last year with no changes to my insurance plan. I don't know what he's talking about with this "there haven't been any increases in five years."

billbodiggens 8 years, 7 months ago

Legislative scum. . . Balanced the budget??? You bet they did.... They balanced it on the backs of current and retired state workers... Balanced??? Legislative scum. . . Current and retired state workers are paying the way for the legislature to go home and lie through their teeth to their voters. Legislative scum.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 7 months ago

See? Still against the President's reform? Think again.

KSChick1 8 years, 7 months ago

hey timetospeakup even though you're an idiot and don't know what you're talking about:

employee contributions to health insurance is not "tiny" by any means...I pay over $2000 a year to have my health insurance

I hate the generalizing that idiots like you spout as truth. Not all state employees are worthless and stay on because of insurance.

Go ahead and think that. You're only hurting yourself with your bitterness, jealousy, overgeneralization, and mistaken "facts".


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